Cultural sites open their doors for free for 25th annual Heritage Open Days

PUBLISHED: 17:00 06 September 2019

The launch of Heritage Open Days 2019 in St Albans. Picture: Tim Boatswain

The launch of Heritage Open Days 2019 in St Albans. Picture: Tim Boatswain


Cultural attractions around the district will be opening their doors for free during a 25th annual celebration of heritage.

The launch of Heritage Open Days 2019 in St Albans. Picture: Tim BoatswainThe launch of Heritage Open Days 2019 in St Albans. Picture: Tim Boatswain

Visitors can access a range of churches, museums, towers and other historical sites free of charge for the Heritage Open Days 2019, running from September 13 to 22.

Activities include an exhibition presented by history group Fleetville Diaries, storytelling at the Kingsbury Barn, a look around Redbournbury Mill, a guided walk from Smallford to Nast Hyde Halt stations along the Alban Way, a treasure hunt around St Albans Museum + Gallery, and tours of Abbey Gateway and St Albans Cathedral.

St Albans BID's Time Turn Festival is also back, with classic cars, motorbikes and scooters set to transform the city centre into a real-life retro throwback.

Numerous organisations are hosting the events but St Albans Civic Society have co-ordinated the period.

Civic society chairman, Tim Boatswain, said: "It is quite a special year because it is the 25th year of Heritage Open Days throughout the country - 40,000 volunteers are taking part and there are 5,000 different events.

"We have some new events in the brochure, there is a very good range and variety, and it is a real opportunity to visit these places for free.

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"It is really nice for families - some of them might be hesitant to go at another time because they can be costly.

"It is an opportunity to have a look at some special heritage sites which might not be available normally.

"When you look at the brochure there are things in there you might not know about, even if you are local."

Heritage Open Days were established in 1994 as England's contribution to the European Heritage Days. This year's national theme is People Power.

Heritage Open Days national manager, Annabelle Thorpe, said: "Last year, we welcomed over three million visitors to a fantastic 5,500 events.

"We know, however, that many people still aren't aware of Heritage Open Days, and the huge range of events on offer across the festival.

"This year we're using the 25th anniversary to find ways to connect with different communities and individuals, and to encourage them to take part, volunteer or visit."

Find out more about individual events at

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